Blaming the Blameless: SPSMM Responds

As SPSMM’s editor for contributions to the Good Men Project Magazine, I’d like to respond to some points made by Mr. Paul Elam (“Men and Violence: Blaming the Blameless“) in response to an article written by Chris Kilmartin, Ph.D., (“Violence Is a Men’s Issue“). Elam notes that Kilmartin did not explicitly reference any research in his article. It’s GMPM policy, obviously, to fact-check, but not require citations in the text of the article. And of course, we hope that GMPM readers interested in the topic would follow links back to the author’s homepage. Readers can also visit the free bibliographic service at Google Scholar, or view books listed by their favorite bookseller. Searches for “violence masculinity” at Google Scholar indicate nearly 87,000 references and at Amazon.com indicate nearly 500 titles, including Kilmartin’s three books.

Elam wants you to think about the issue in terms of men vs. women: who’s more likely to start violence, who’s more likely to engage in violence, and who’s more likely to get hurt. Those are important issues, but they aren’t the focus of Kilmartin’s article. Kilmartin argued that we need to stop the violence—one way to do that is for men to hold each other accountable. When men turn their ability for violence—which is supposed to be used to protect their country and loved ones—onto their partners or children, that’s masculinity gone bad. When men hurt their partners—the people we men are expected to protect—it looks bad for all men. And men are much more likely to cause damage that requires medical treatment, a point that Kilmartin and Elam agree on.

The idea that a small percentage of men can make all men look bad isn’t far fetched. The U.S. military understands this; the events of a small number of soldiers at My Lai and Abu Ghraib left the entire military with a proverbial black eye. In response, the military increased awareness, changed training, and prosecuted those whose misdeeds directly caused the problem. Kilmartin suggests that men do the same; we should make all men more aware and hold accountable those men who are violent and therefore make us all look bad.

Elam draws an interesting parallel with problems in the African American community. What folks in those communities realized was that they needed to take care of their own. Black communities throughout the U.S. have found a myriad of ways to try to prevent their young men from becoming violent and thus being killed or incarcerated (admittedly, some programs have been more effective than others). Kilmartin is arguing for the same: that we, as men, find ways to help other men refrain from violence. This seems to be especially problematic for Elam, who believes that men should “abandon any notion of commitment to women or vulnerability to them,” and who is “anti-marriage and anti-commitment to the core.” Like Kilmartin, I think that some of our society’s expectations of men contribute to the problem. And like Kilmartin, I think that we, as men, can and should help other men.

—Andrew Smiler, Ph.D.

♦◊♦

Andrew P. Smiler, Ph.D., is a visiting professor of psychology at Wake Forest University and the president-elect of SPSMM. More information is available on his website.

♦◊♦

This is a response to “Men and Violence: Blaming the Blameless,” which was a response to “Violence Is a Men’s Issue.” Paul Elam responds again, here.

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Andrew Smiler

Andrew Smiler, PhD is a therapist, evaluator, author, and speaker residing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (USA). He is the author of “Challenging Casanova: Beyond the stereotype of promiscuous young male sexuality” and co-author, with Chris Kilmartin, of “The Masculine Self (5th edition)”. He is a past president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity and has taught at Wake Forest University and SUNY Oswego. Dr. Smiler's research focuses on definitions of masculinity. He also studies normative aspects of sexual development, such as age and perception of first kiss, first “serious” relationship, and first intercourse among 15-25 year olds. Follow him @AndrewSmiler.

Comments

  1. Henry P. Belanger says:

    Post updated to include author’s name.

  2. “Elam wants you to think about the issue in terms of men vs. women:”

    Incorrect. Elam wants us to think about violence as a whole, not limited to one sex vs the other. It is you and kilmartin that only seek to look at men vs women, men’s attacks vs women.

    “who’s more likely to start violence, who’s more likely to engage in violence, and who’s more likely to get hurt. Those are important issues,”

    No, actually, they aren’t the important issues. The issue is stopping violence altogether, but pretending that it is only one sex that commits the acts and condemning that sex alone, while letting the other run rampant, free to kill and maim without repercussions or accountability (or mere slaps on the wrist in comparison to men when they are), that is unacceptable. It is because of propaganda such as kilmartin, that implies that men and only men are responsible for violence that not only condones, but encourages women on man violence, because they know that men like you will protect them from any repercussions.

    The reasons these points (who’s more likely…) keep coming up, is not because they are important issues, but rather, because they shouldn’t be, but are made to be important by people like yourself, who make it seem like the answer to all these questions are that men are the violent ones and women are the victims.

    “but they aren’t the focus of Kilmartin’s article.”

    Aren’t they? By kilmartin focusing on men’s actions, and men’s alone, he is effectively answering the questions “who’s more likely to start violence, who’s more likely to engage in violence” with “men”. He is saying men are responsible for the violence and that men are therefore responsible for the solution. Given that women are at least half the problem of IPV, should they also not be half the solution?

    Now, I realize what you are trying to say, IE, that men should be responsible for male violence and women should be responsible for female violence, and that kilmartin was simply looking at the male half of that… except he wasn’t. He defined the root cause of violence as “toxic masculinity”… a MALE trait that would not inherently be shared by women. This is hardly indication that he believes women are responsible for any violence whatsoever, let alone half (or more).

    “Kilmartin argued that we need to stop the violence—one way to do that is for men to hold each other accountable.”

    …To hold all perpetrators accountable, not just half of them. That’s the problem. If you only hold half the perpetrators accountable, you can, at best, stop half the violence. But in doing so, you empower the other half to increase their violence without fear of repercussions or defensive resistance.

    “When men turn their ability for violence—which is supposed to be used to protect their country and loved ones—onto their partners or children, that’s masculinity gone bad.”

    And when women turn their ability for violence on their partner or children (women abuse or kill their own children at twice the rate men do, but you never see child abuse posters with mothers beating their children, it’s always men)… is that also masculinity gone bad? Is abuse against ones partner solely the result of ‘masculinity gone bad”? or is there perhaps another root cause that isn’t gender based, despite your best efforts to suggest othewise?

    “When men hurt their partners—the people we men are expected to protect—it looks bad for all men.”

    And when women hurt their children, the people they are expected to nurture and protect, why does it not look bad on women they way you and kilmartin are trying to shame men with these articles? In fact, despite the fact women are by far more likely to harm their children, it is family court policy to give children to their mothers, even in cases where it isn’t in the child’s best interests (Example: The Campione case). The reason for this discrepancy is the fault of people like kilmartin and yourself, who make baseless accusations implying men (and masculinity) are the cause of violence, and detracting from the problem as a whole by focusing on only half of it. You are actually doing more harm then good with such actions.

    If it was acknowledged that IPV was not a gender issue, that masculinity (and men) are not solely responsible for violence, Abuse shelters for men would likely be more prevelant, and male victims of abuse would have somewhere to take their children to in order to get away from abusive wives and mothers. But that hasn’t happened because people like you insist violence is a masculinity issue, that it is male only, which is a lie, plain and simple. And you know it.

    And men are much more likely to cause damage that requires medical treatment, a point that Kilmartin and Elam agree on.

    Yeah, by about 2 to one. This is something both of you agree on… should not then you acknowledge that violence is, at the very least, a 2 to 1 ratio male to female? But more realistically, men are far more then just two times more like to injure a women in a reciprocal altercation, so, if violence was even a 50/50 split, should not the number of women injuries not be higher? And if the violence was all male, should not men’s injuries be lower? Based on numbers you yourself admit, at the very least, men should be getting 1/3 the funding women shelters get, but we don’t, and that’s because of people like you and kilmartin who put all the blame on masculinity, and by association, men and men alone.

    • “Elam draws an interesting parallel with problems in the African American community. What folks in those communities realized was that they needed to take care of their own. Black communities throughout the U.S. have found a myriad of ways to try to prevent their young men from becoming violent and thus being killed or incarcerated (admittedly, some programs have been more effective than others).”

      There is a distinct difference between realizing your community suffers, as much, or more, from a larger societal issue, and putting into place programs to help reduce the numbers your community adds to that problem, verses blaming that community in whole for the entire problem at hand. What the black community has done, is set up programs to encourage black people to engage in activities other then gang violence. What Kilmartin has done, is claimed that gang violence is a problem caused by black people and that it is black people that must solve that problem… Sorry, I mean: violence is a problem caused by (toxic) masculinity and that it is men that must solve that problem, because we all know nether he nor you would ever commit career suicide by condemning black people as the cause of gang violence.

  3. Very unprofessional rebuttal to assume words and intentions that are not there.

    What is your name?

  4. “The idea that a small percentage of men can make all men look bad isn’t far fetched. The U.S. military understands this; the events of a small number of soldiers at My Lai and Abu Ghraib left the entire military with a proverbial black eye”

    Which branch(‘s) of the military was involved in these scandals? Did the US military only apply it’s change in policies to the branch’s involved? Was the shaming of the military only applied to those specific branch’s? or did the military as a whole, all branch’s, get affected by these actions? If politician’s were also involved, would the military held the sole brunt of the shaming and the politician’s involvement been ignored?

    Your analogy actually works against you, given that the military as a whole was impacted, despite only a branch or two being the perpetrators, meanwhile, the human race are all responsible for violence, yet only a branch of it (men) are being held accountable.

    As for a small number embarassing the whole, that’s what happens when a group of people who are deemed to be representing an entire community do something bad. The individual men (and women) who commit IPV are not representative of men (or women), and so should not be taken as such. They are an aberration

  5. Dear Editor. Perhaps instead of you coming in and trying to backpedal, Dr. Kilmartin could come back and answer the questions posed to him. You are twisting his words to suit your purposes and try to undo the damage. Problem is, your version is not what he said, and if he meant differently he should be the one explaining where we misunderstood.

  6. I must disagree with your characterization of Elam’s response as “men vs. women.” As I see it, he is stating just the opposite. BOTH men and women can commit violence and BOTH men and women can be victims. Instead, it is Kilmartin who is characterizing violence as “men vs. women” by making it a “men’s issue” and by characterizing it as a “toxic masculinity” while ignoring the other half that is committed by women.

    I take no exception to Kilmartin’s strategy of urging men to confront other men who commit violence against women, but by going only halfway, he is condemning this strategy to failure. Men will not stop committing violence against women unless and until it also becomes unacceptable for women to commit violence against men. In a study for the CDC, Whitaker found that women commit about 70% of non-reciprocal IPV. He also found that about 50% of IPV is reciprocal (both parties are violent) This would indicate that women commit IPV at about the same rate as men and that men may already be showing great restraint in their response to that violence. Further, Capaldi found that the greatest predictor of injury to women from IPV is their own initiation of the violence. Men may be showing great restraint, but when the do respond, they respond with greater violence. So while men confronting men who initiate IPV may reduce the overall incidence, it is likely to have little effect on injury from IPV, since men may still see the need to respond to violence with violence. Thus, Kilmartin’s strategy isn’t likely to be helpful in reducing injury to women unless female initiated IPV is also confronted.

    By characterizing IPV as only a “men’s issue” and making men responsible for IPV while ignoring that they can be victims and that women also commit IPV, Kilmartin is feeding us more of the same failed strategy that has failed over the past 40 years. It’s time that IPV become “ungendered” and seen for what it is, a human problem and a human issue with a human solution. Until that happens, it is likely that IPV will continue unabated.

    TDOM

    • LanceSmith says:

      TDOM: “By characterizing IPV as only a “men’s issue” and making men responsible for IPV while ignoring that they can be victims and that women also commit IPV, Kilmartin is feeding us more of the same failed strategy that has failed over the past 40 years.”

      Agreed – well said. This is the fundamental flaw of both the Author’s and Kilmartin’s arguments.

      Calling upon men to stand up to violence is one thing…but playing the blame and shame game is something completely different.

      Besides, as an aside, what about when the violent one is a woman? As the CDC study showed, is probably happens more then it doesn’t. What should the man do then prey tell? Defend his children and and self? Or just grin and bear it and make believe it isn’t happening because the ideologues say it doesn’t?

  7. So given the author’s reasoning if all men can be blamed for a small portion of men then ALL men can take credit for the small portion of men who actually ever build anything.

    If we use this group think mentality and claim women are not responsible for violence because men commit more violence THEN women are not responsible for any contributions in history, science, mathematics, engineering, medicine, the arts, defense, building anything or inventing anything useful.

    I always notice when it comes to blame, the feminists, both male and female wish to play this game but when it comes to credit, they toss this game out and Madam Currie becomes equal to the 10s of thousands of male contributors to science.

    Can’t have it both ways.If men get the blame… they get the credit. In fact, according to the author’s logic, women haven’t done anything at all… ever… at all.

  8. I wonder if Kilmartin has heard of Munchausen’s by proxy, where a mother purposely poisons her young so she can appear heroic when she suggests a “cure” to doctors. In many cases, multiple children will die before anyone admits to seeing a murderous pattern.

    What allows this to go on is that we have this image of empathic, nurturing women who would never harm anyone, let alone their own children. Another factor is that hospital officials don’t want to admit to neglecting the situation to begin with because of liability issues.

  9. When I notice two lesbians engaging in IPV, which of the two do I confront about violence perpetrated against women? The one that appears most manly? What if they both look like blokes? What if neither of them appears manly? This is terribly confusing.

  10. The purported gist of the response, as I understand it, is that since some men are violent that it looks bad for all men. And that consequently we should coalesce, as men, to confront it within our ranks. But unfortunately the author quickly and erroneously mischaracterizes the nature of my argument. “Mr. Elam wants you to think about the issue in terms of men vs. women: who’s more likely to start violence, who’s more likely to engage in violence, and who’s more likely to get hurt,” is offered to readers.

    Actually, between myself, the person who wrote those lines and Kilmartin, I am the only one doing just the opposite of what is alleged. My contention has been clear throughout; it is not “men vs. women” but perpetrators vs. victims. It was SPSMM that narrowed the view of societal violence through a gender specific lens, managing only to acknowledge and address male perpetrators and female victims. How much more instigating of a men vs. women mentality can you be than that?

    I certainly did bring up women’s perpetration of IPV. It was the necessary counterbalance needed to address the divisive and significantly biased nature of Kilmartin’s offering. And it should be part of any rational discussion on societal violence.

    In my attempt to rattle loose the prejudicial nature of the ‘men only’ approach to dealing with violence, I offered the question of whether the significantly higher incidence of arrest for violent crimes in the African American community pointed to a condition of “toxic blackness,” for which the African American community should intervene on its own. It is clearly and idea I find lacking.

    The response to this was, “Black communities throughout the U.S. have found a myriad of ways to try to prevent their young men from becoming violent and thus being killed or incarcerated (admittedly, some programs have been more effective than others). Kilmartin is arguing for the same: that we, as men, find ways to help other men refrain from violence.”

    And of course this misses the point entirely. The African American community is certainly seeking ways to prevent their young men from becoming violent, but I have not heard of a single community effort that targeted “blackness,” toxic or otherwise, as the source of the problem. And yes, Kilmartin is arguing for more of the same. The African American community also has problems with violent and abusive women, like every other community. And like every other community that violence is scarcely acknowledged as a problem. Regardless of the good intent, it feeds the misconception that violence is the exclusive province of males, and it leaves the same trail of unrecognized, traumatized adults and children in its misandric wake.

    Finally, and most disappointingly, the response ended on the ironic note of mandated gender roles, and not without a somewhat personal shot at me, as written in the following:

    “This seems to be especially problematic for Elam, who believes that men should “abandon any notion of commitment to women or vulnerability to them,” and who is “anti-marriage and anti-commitment to the core.”

    To be fair, this is a very accurate representation of my beliefs, even though obviously served up as an attempt to shame.

    My sentiments are pro equality and anti gender roles. I remember well the same year that we landed a man on the moon that the help wanted ads were divided clearly between men and women, reflecting higher and lower paying jobs respectively. It was an arrangement, while understandable in a world that demanded male bread winners, that was no less suffocating the ambitions of women who wanted to choose the path of self reliance and self sufficiency. We have come a long way since then, and I laud those changes. No one should be forced, by public policy or social coercion, to live up to expectations based simply on the sex they happened to be born with. It is unthinkable in a world striving for any sense of personal freedom and justice.

    But as we keep learning that we still haven’t learned, that should apply to men as well. I am not, nor are my fellow males, the congenital bodyguards assigned to protect women- even as we strive for their “equality.” If that path is chosen by a man, so be it, and I find no fault in it. But that path coerced or followed under duress is nothing but evil. Telling me that it is “my job” to protect and provide for my equals is no different than telling a woman in an office to fetch the coffee for all the men, or that she should not be allowed the same pay for the same work.

    So I reassert that SPSMM is misguided in it’s efforts. A few violent men does not make all men look bad. And a few violent women does not make all women look bad. It all makes violent people look bad. Unless, of course, you are simply looking to play a game of pin the tail on the scapegoat.

    Until we start getting this, and address our problems as a community of equals, we are only perpetuating the same old sexism under a different guise.

    I didn’t much like it in 1969, and I don’t much like it now.

  11. Thats it?! My god its like a mantra! They just keep repeating themselves untill we are unable to deny their arguments!

    Paul Elam made some earth shattering arguments and all these folks do is shovel soil into the gaping crevices!

    Passion and reason cannot exist side by side.

    I guess thats why they have nothing to say!

  12. Folks at SPSMM and GMPM say that you are interested in reducing violence by getting all men to hold violent men responsible for their actions. You folks probably know like-minded women who focus on the problem of violence, and so I would appreciate it if you would please pass on the following note to them.

    I argue that we need to stop the violence—one way to do that is for women to hold each other accountable. When women turn their ability for violence—which is supposed to be used to protect their country and loved ones—onto their partners or children, that’s femaleness gone bad. When women hurt their partners and children—the people women are expected to love and even to protect—it looks bad for all women. And, when women and children fight, women are much more likely to cause damage that requires medical treatment and that often kills.

    The idea that a small percentage of women can make all women look bad isn’t far fetched. The U.S. military understands this; the events of a small number of soldiers at My Lai and Abu Ghraib left the entire military with a proverbial black eye. In response, the military increased awareness, changed training, and prosecuted those whose misdeeds directly caused the problem. I suggest that women do the same; we should make all women more aware and hold accountable those women who are violent and therefore make all women look bad.

  13. I wonder if SPSMM understands how apt this title to be?

    I’m one of the quarter of all the survivors of child sexual abuse who were raped by women. I’m one of the half of all survivors who are male.

    Among the victims I know personally are several who grew up as the only male in a household. Each of them was abused sexually and physically by their mothers AND sisters. Each of them served as a punching bag to assuage every single hatred and frustration their mothers and siblings held towards men. The worst experiences among the many female and male victims I know close up come from this group.

    Why does SPSMM hold myself and those others responsible for things we have never done but that WERE done to us? You, SPSMM, and others of like sentiment, look past us, through us as though we were invisible, such is your haste to help even those who hurt us.

    You claim to work for men and boys?

    Then stop blaming the blameless.

  14. The problem with blaming men for domestic violence is that it neglects the dynamic nature of relationships and absolves women of their own responsibility for violence.

    In the journal for the Psychology of men and masculinity, the relevant topics include:

    • the victimization of male children and adults; and
    • boys’ and men’s relationships with girls and women and with each other

    Yet the SPSMM neglects male victimization and focuses on male violence only, rather than a more effective and accurate look at interpersonal relationships.

    The expertise and professionalism of the SPSMM doesn’t even begin to compare with http://www.nfvlrc.org

    The reality is that if we want to stop family violence then we need to deal with all violence and conflict in relationships. A half-truth is still a lie and “good men” don’t lie.

  15. “Kilmartin argued that we need to stop the violence—one way to do that is for men
    to hold each other accountable.”

    Correction: we need to stop the violence—one way to do that is for humans
    to hold each other accountable.”

  16. So given the reasoning of this article’s author, if we can hold all men responsible for the actions of a few men can we hold all blacks responsible for a few blacks? Or Muslims?

  17. On another thread relating to this topic (http://goodmenproject.com/2010/12/11/men-and-violence-blaming-the-blameless/), Cooper Fleishman stated, “But one truth—yes, truth—about being a man is our privilege.”

    Really? He might want to take a look at the most unemployed person in the country
    http://www.businessinsider.com/most-unemployed-person-in-america-2010-12?slop=1#slideshow-start
    and the most employed person in the country
    http://www.businessinsider.com/most-employed-person-in-america-2010-12?slop=1#slideshow-start

  18. @Andrew P. Smiler & SPSMM…

    Male victims of abuse are awaiting your responses.

    Do you have any idea of the depth of the marginalisation experienced by male victims of abuse, particularly those abused by women? Do you have any idea of the extent to which your advocacy contributes to this marginalisation?

    In my country those promoting this thinking hold sway with governments at state and federal level. Agencies funded by government to help victims respond to desperate calls for help from male victims with laughter and accusations of dishonesty. In my state future welfare workers are being taught that male victims must be disbelieved. They are denied help and even acknowledgement even though their taxes pay for the services that thus abuse them.

    Half the victims of child sexual abuse. Two thirds of the victims of child abuse. All marginalised into oblivion with the help of your ideology. Their abusers given greater and greater cover and protection with every word you utter. My, how those abusers must appreciate your efforts.

    By whose God do you call upon those victims to aid you in the defence of their rapists and beaters and starvers and mutilators?

    You owe us some answers SPSMM.

  19. Andrew Smiler says:

    Ok, so here’s my question. I’ve responded to many comments and that’s been entirely on Paul’s article, but I haven’t asked a question. Here goes:

    In the US, most people see IPV/domestic violence as a women’s issue. As Gwallan has stated, male victims are largely ignored. And in many cases, when males acknowledge that they’ve been victimized, they encounter shame and ridicule for not being able to defend themselves, something men are “supposed to be able to do.” Read the opening section of Kilmartin’s piece where he hears undergraduate men making fun of things like the white ribbon campaign; they simply don’t see it as relevant. I’ve also seen that response from undergraduate men and from adult men in gyms and other places where I play sports. In the 1970s, most space, funding, and work for women’s shelters came from women and the people who worked in those places often volunteered their time (most now have paid stuff).

    How do we get guys to be more interested/involved/concerned about IPV? I get it that shaming guys is not an ideal approach to promoting involvement; what does work?

    • Perhaps focusing on helping the male victims would be a good start.

    • “Read the opening section of Kilmartin’s piece where he hears undergraduate men making fun of things like the white ribbon campaign; they simply don’t see it as relevant. “

      The white ribbon campaign, a campign to stop violence against women, evolved from the Lepine massacre at polytechnique in Montreal. Feminists openly stated at the time, that lepine’s actions were representative of all men’s hatred of women… It was founded in lies, as all men do NOT share Lepine’s hated of “feminism” (not women). In addition, there have been many reports of white ribbon campaign events becoming hostile towards men who wished to support and be involved in them. There is reason to ridicule it. What happened to those women was a horrible tragedy, but it wasn’t representative of men as a whole, it was an anomaly. The white ribbon campaign has lived its course (even 9/11 doesn’t have the same kind of support as this anomaly of a single man produced… where are the celebrations of men’s valour and bravery, for those who gave their lives, after all, it was only male firefighters and police men that died that day. Why does 300+ men running to their own deaths to save others get largely ignored or trivialized (by acknowledging the gender-neutral roles/jobs, but not the fact that they were all MEN), while the actions of a single man has resulted in a 30 year campaign of misandry?). There have been a number of author’s, women author’s, who agree (Barbara Kay of the National Post (Canada) being one such author. She has some very interesting speech’s on the topic at her website). Damning the white ribbon campaign is not the same as condoning violence against women. It is simply damning a tool of misandry for what it is.

      “I’ve also seen that response from undergraduate men and from adult men in gyms and other places where I play sports. In the 1970s, most space, funding, and work for women’s shelters came from women and the people who worked in those places often volunteered their time (most now have paid stuff).”

      Erin Pizzey being the first to establish a women’s refuge. But when she did so, she openly stated that knew the feminist movement would usurp her efforts and turn it into a movement against men, and they did. She openly stated that men were victims too and needed support; she was silenced with bomb threats against her, her children and her grandchildren (and allegedly, according to wikipedia, the killing of her dog) until she escaped to another country (she states this herself in several interviews, one can be seen in the youtube podcasts by Man, Woman, Myth). It has been used as a feminist tool to attain their goals, actually helping women was likely just a side effect (This belief is supported by the fact there are a number of former women’s shelter workers who have been fired for asking where the state funded money goes, because it doesn’t trickle down to the abused women.)

      Now, if you’re suggesting the men need to start from the ground up, with volunteered time, money and space… Well, you’re not going to get that unless people actually believe male victimization exists, which won’t happen with articles that just look at, imply that, and/or openly state that, violence (is) only being perpetrated by men. Additionally, men have also been a large part of producing funding for the DV industry. Had feminists not openly opposed acknowledging the victimization of men (again, see Erin Pizzey), funding would have been provided for male victims already. In other words, men have already helped lay the groundwork for support funding, they should not be required to start from scratch simply because they were the victims of gender discrimination and feminist propaganda.

      “How do we get guys to be more interested/involved/concerned about IPV? I get it that shaming guys is not an ideal approach to promoting involvement; what does work?”

      Easy. Stop targeting men specifically in your articles (do it by the articles placement… IE, good men’s magazine is likely to be frequented by men… IE, you’re targeting men by placement, the article doesn’t need to further target them). Acknowledge that violence does target men more then women, and that IPV specifically is at least even. Don’t target the men to do something about it, target EVERYONE. As much as I hate to admit this, men usually follow a women’s lead, they fight her causes (this is the white knight tendency that Paul and others are trying to oppose (with the promotion of Zeta males), but might as well use it while it exists). If you want men to help stop violence, you need to get women involved (for example, the violence against women movement has lots of male support, including yourself, just asking the question I’m answering is proof of that). But more importantly, once they do get involved, they need to feel they aren’t stabbing themselves in the back, or being betrayed… and this is where acknowledging male victimization comes in. You are losing a lot of potential support (both men, and the women who support and encourage them) simply due to the double standard placed against men. People generally don’t like supporting dishonest and corrupt causes once they realize the cause is dishonest/corrupt (which is why so many people are baffled by you and your ilk).

      If you want to get men involved, you need to acknowledge all violence (doesn’t have to address it all in the same article, just don’t write such absolutes as “violence is caused by toxic masculinity”, “Violence is a man’s issues”, etc, which imply the article is all inclusive.), not just that against women (especially given men are the primary victims of violence in general). And you need to speak to all audiences, not just men (your choice of where to publish should be all the “targeting of men” you need). In current society, it is actually women that stand up for men the most, largely because a man standing up for himself (especially against a women or feminism) can be detrimental to the man (IE, numerous men (including prominent and heralded male feminists) have ended their career’s by speaking up against feminism and the discrimination in the DV industry. I’m sure Paul can provide a more comprehensive list them I could, though I know Barbara Kay makes note of a few in her articles and speech’s on the subject)

      • Barbara Kay
        Christina Hoff Sommers
        Cathy Young
        Katherine Young
        Kathleen Parker
        Diana Furchtgott-Roth
        Daphne Patai
        There are others.

        • Ooops. I forgot Erin Pizzey — one of the greatest.

        • Thanks Thomas,

          I assume that list is of female authors who speak out against the white ribbon campaign due to it’s misandric origin and message?

          • Andrew Smiler says:

            Thanks for the history lesson. I don’t know the history or the politics; violence is not the focus of my research or part of my expertise. I’ve been learning alot about IPV, perception, and presentation. I hope that it’ll make me a better advocate for men.

            I hear you about being broader in terms of presentation and audience, but I’ll also need some patience from you. GMPM has been kind enough to give us space; no other venue has as of yet. If I could get us regular space in Time Magazine, USA Today, or some other place, I would. Our deal with GMPM is that we give them short pieces, 600-700 words. That doesn’t leave much space to introduce a topic, give it some depth, and then suggest alternatives/solutions. It’s not always feasible to acknowledge the relevant components that we’re not addressing in that short of a space.

            And sometimes, we do see a need for men to change and we’ll call men on it. Of course, it’s not always controversial, like efforts to get men to go for annual physical checkups.

            As editor of SPSMM”s contributions, I will pay attention for these kinds of things.

          • “Thanks for the history lesson. I don’t know the history or the politics; violence is not the focus of my research or part of my expertise. I’ve been learning alot about IPV, perception, and presentation. I hope that it’ll make me a better advocate for men.”

            Well, despite you and Paul getting off on the wrong foot, I hope you (and other’s at SPSMM) will use him and other MRA’s as a resource of alternatives (to the feminist taught) viewpoints. The fact that you are willing to have this discussion bodes well.

            “I hear you about being broader in terms of presentation and audience, but I’ll also need some patience from you. GMPM has been kind enough to give us space; no other venue has as of yet. If I could get us regular space in Time Magazine, USA Today, or some other place, I would. “

            I hope you realize why you might be running into such difficulties getting viewed in the more mainstream publications. But hopefully (once you’ve adjusted your writing style appropriately), you’ll succeed nonetheless.

            “Our deal with GMPM is that we give them short pieces, 600-700 words. That doesn’t leave much space to introduce a topic, give it some depth, and then suggest alternatives/solutions. It’s not always feasible to acknowledge the relevant components that we’re not addressing in that short of a space.”

            Understandable. But as seen in these 3 articles between Kilmartin, Paul and yourself, a subject does not need to be fully discussed in one article. Links to and continuations of previous articles, or suggestions of new ones forthcoming, are likely very feasible (I can’t be certain, as I’m not an employee of GMPM, but they seem open to multi-article topics and discussions), and can go a long way towards meeting those various needs (introductions, specifics, alternatives, etc).

            “And sometimes, we do see a need for men to change and we’ll call men on it. Of course, it’s not always controversial, like efforts to get men to go for annual physical checkups.
            As editor of SPSMM”s contributions, I will pay attention for these kinds of things.”

            Even controversial suggestions aren’t bad to make, so long as it’s not in the context of shaming or damning anyone, and the suggestions don’t put anyone at a disadvantage or left out (such as Kilmartin’s suggestions all being to help only women despite his acknowledgment then most victims of violence are men). For example, the Zeta Male concept calls for men to stop playing the role of white knight, and to hold women accountable for their actions and the consequences of those actions… This is very much a controversial suggestion, and is well open to discussion. But because it isn’t blaming men (or even women) for anything, but simply acknowledging a change away from typical gender roles (and why), such as has happened in women’s rights, it shouldn’t be offensive (undesirable to some perhaps, but that’s what makes it controversial). Chivalry is often seen as a good thing, but it enforces the provide and protect gender role in a negative way (98% war death, 95% workplace death, 80% suicide, etc) and has lost it’s advantages/privileges, just as “be a caring and nurturing mother… be the primary caregiver” should be seen as a good thing, but was shed (at least in large part, where it limited women) in favour of women being in the workplace.

            I look forward to seeing your next article, and seeing how you’ve incorporated the various suggestions offered.

  20. i am awaiting some answers as to why when i needed help and asked for it-no one knew what to do-they knew i was abused and mentally asphyxiated but had absolutely no idea what to tell me or where to go.
    my doctor finally gave me some anti-anxiety meds but untill this day-i still have panic attacks from the abuse suffered at the hands of a female

    when i was going through the father extortion process and claimed physical,mental,emotional and financial abuse-the misandry machine turned it all around on me and made me feel like it was all my fault.
    having the nerve to ask for help is one thing-being chastized and further victimized by feminist ideology is another for it-is another

    gimme some answers mr. author man

    • Andrew Smiler says:

      @gwallan & outdoors,

      I obviously don’t have any answers for you or, at least, nothing that’d be particularly helpful. Would that I had the power to change your experiences or to make sure that no one else goes through what you’ve experienced.

      Andrew

      • I don’t think these men are asking for answers as much as they are asking for acknowledgement. Will you pledge that from this time forward, in SPSMM’s articles, programs, research, conferences and other undertakings that men will be equally represented as victims of domestic violence? Will you pledge to do the same in your representations of females as abusers? If not, then you are a part of the problem of perpetuating the myth that men are the only ones doing the abusing.

        The question that keeps coming up in my mind is how long have you known about male victims of domestic violence? If Kilmartin wrote this article out of ignorance of male victims and female abusers then I could easily give him a pass. However, it is hard to imagine that would be the case since SPSMM is dedicated to studying men, seems to be populated by ph.d’s both clinicians and researchers and is a national group sponsored by the APA. Surely SPSMM would be aware of the work of Straus, Fiebert, Dutton and others. If he wrote the article fully aware of male victims and female perps that is another thing entirely.

        So here’s my simple question:

        1. How long have you been aware of male victims of domestic violence?

        2. How long have you been aware of female abusers?

        Those are simple questions. I hope you can be direct in your answer rather than dodge as you have been doing thus far. It would be great if you could also give a general idea about SPSMM and how long they have been aware of these issues to the best of your knowledge.

        Thanks.

        • Andrew Smiler says:

          Hi Nancy,

          I am in no position to make any promises or guarantees about the behavior of SPSMM’s members. They’re adults, they each have their own areas of expertise, and they have free will. As long as I’m SPSMM’s editor & liaison to GMPM, I can influence what appears here, but that’s the extent of my power.

          I will also point out that there are times when it may be particularly relevant to focus on abusers or victims of only one sex. My experience as therapist made it clear to me that while male & female victims of childhood sexual abuse ALL experienced some level of shame at not being able to fight off the (adult) perpetrators, that shame was almost always worse for the guys because many guys grew up hearing that guys should be able to physically protect themselves (and others) and they felt like they’d somehow failed as a man. I can’t remember a female client I ever worked with who said that as a girl, she should have been able to protect herself or that she subsequently felt shame for being a failure as a girl. This was a regular and important point of therapy and one that I wouldn’t want to lose.
          I also wouldn’t want members to lose the option of pointing to aspects of abuse that women often engage in but men rarely do. There is a lot to be said for addressing women and men at the same time and in the same ways, but never addressing phenomena that are unique to one group or the other is also problematic.

          There’s no test to join SPSMM, it simply requires the relevant degree, providing basic contact info, and paying the fee. Not all members are feminists and some are openly and explicitly hostile to feminism. I understand feminism, but I’m not a big fan. I like some of its aims/goals/achievements (e.g., girls’ access to education, esp college, getting rid of the “glass ceiling”, support for pro-choice legislation) and I’m not fond of others, especially the simplistic claim that “men have oppressed women” throughout history. I also think that implementation of some of these, esp some EOE related rulings re: female employment, have been problematic.

          I’m pretty sure Kilmartin is aware of at least some of those authors. I will also remind you that he was trying to make a point in a short piece. It’s clear that there are many folks who don’t like the way he made it or don’t agree with his point, and I’ve gotten enough specifics about that to be able to edit with those concerns in mind. I don’t believe Kilmartin was intentionally trying to marginalize male victims of abuse or hide the fact that female abusers exist. He was talking about his experience in talking to men about IPV, including their reaction of being dismissive. And While Kratch and other posters here are aware of the history of the white ribbon campaign, uses of female victims by Feminist political advocates, etc., those are not the responses or justifications from undergraduate men use who mock a poster on a bulletin board.

          I’ve been aware of male victims of child abuse and female abusers since 1990 (when I started working with kids in a psyc hospital) and probably had my first experiences with male victims and female perpetrators of IPV in ’93 or ’94, shortly after I started my first job as a family therapist (and thus started working with adults and people outside a hospital).

          There are over 500 members of SPSMM and I don’t know all of them. To the best of my knowledge, members of SPSMM vary substantially in their knowledge of IPV and any other issue related to men or masculinity. SPSMM was officially recognized as a division of APA in 1995 and I joined in about 2001. I suspect some of our members were aware of male victims and female perps long before SPSMM was formed. I suspect some of our newest members – first and second PhD students who are 22-23 years old, have little/no idea.

          I’ll also add that all of SPSMM’s members have a desire to understand and/or improve men’s lives. That’s the one thing that I believe unites all members.

          • Wow. You knew about male victims of domestic violence 20 year ago and still let that article through? All I can say is wow! I hope you have listened to the feedback from the posters here and will start framing DV as a human issue rather than a men’s issue.

  21. In New South Wales in 2008 the ratio of women convicted of serious domestic violence assaults in NSW Courts is 1 woman for every 1.8 men. Thirty years ago this was 1 woman for every 8 men. Add to that the ABS figure that one quarter of violence against woman comes form other woman. Indeed the fastest growing source of violence against woman in Australia is….other woman.

    The reality of modern day Australia makes a nonsense of the notion that IPV is a male issue. How can one eliminate violence against woman by ending male violence alone – it would still leave in place a full quarter of violence against woman.

    This is why so many comments are saying that this is a community issue that should involve everyone not a gender issue to be used for male shaming!

    Further, how do you ignore the male victims of domestic violence so easily. From your own research you know that violence against a spouse is repeated against the children in the same incidence and with the same pattern. If 3,000 woman were convicted of IPV assaults in NSW Courts in 2008 then that is a potential 3000 families in which the mother is harming her children – and thats just the physical harm.

    By taking such a sexist attitude to IPV you are not only ignoring the thousands of male victims that these conviction by definition prove exist you are exposing their children to continued abuse. What a low, cowardly act from people who we should be relying on for truth, courage and leadership.

    I hope that 30 pieces of silver feels good in your pocket for your soul is empty..

  22. Andrew. I would be interested in knowing when we can expect SPSMM’s next article to GMPM. Kilmartin has clearly chosen to take his articles to locations where he does not need to fear his “facts” being challenged (due to a lack of comments section http://www.nomas.org/node/90 ), but I remain curious as to how you have/will respond to the suggestions made for you.

  23. There’s another dimension to violence awareness that’s a men’s issue: Toxic women. There are many good women in the world, but there are also the toxic women. The manipulators, instigators, “domestic terrorists”. We often make excuses for women when they do horrible things. When women commit violent acts, we as men, and women too!, don’t hold women up to the same standards as we do men. For example, if women bludgeon a man to death with a sledge hammer our response is to say, “let’s pray for her”?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE8BUHKRr-E&feature=player_embedded

    We can pray for her, but only when we pray for the male pedophiles and rapists. When women attack men we assume he did something to deserve it: As bad as murder is, cheating is an “understandable” motivation to drive a woman to it; If we see a woman hitting a man, he must of done something stupid like left his socks on the floor for the fiftieth time after she made it quiet clear they go in the hamper. A long suffering woman can only take so much! “When women resort to violence, some man must of driven her there!” is the narrative of our culture. Yet, as men, we all know how ruthlessly persistent a woman can be in getting her way. We accept it and don’t speak out against that kind of toxic behavior. So when a woman develops a flaming personality disorder that sends the lives of people around her in to turmoil for her selfish behavior, we don’t hold her accountable for it. We don’t ask if toxic personality disorders drove a man to violence, even in self defense. No, we make excuses and “pray for her”.

    I think it’s our responsibility to put a stop to that kind of passive aggressive violence which is mostly invisible for fear of being accused of “hating women”. Will you put a poster up on the wall at your University raising awareness of this crisis?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] of Men and Masculinity (SPSMM) editor for the Good Men Project Magazine (unnamed in the article) has responded to my rebuttal of Chris Kilmartin’s blanket condemnation of masculinity in the piece entitled, [...]

  2. [...] Smiler of SPSMM responds to Elam here. Related Posts:Can Dragon Tattoo Help Real Rape Victims? Filed Under: Conflict Tagged With: [...]

Speak Your Mind